“Look Where We Are Today”

As Max and John remarked, the Iranian regime’s declaration that it will proceed with 10 more enrichment sites is quite a rebuke for those who fancied that “engagement” would bring results. Well, results we do have: a level of contempt and brazenness heretofore not seen from the Iranians. As the Wall Street Journal‘s editors put it:

The regime scoffed at Mr. Obama after he delivered a conciliating message for the Persian New Year in March, scoffed again after he mildly criticized its post-election crackdown and killing spree in June (following days of silence), and scoffed a third time by rejecting the West’s offer last month to enrich Iran’s uranium for it. Yet the Administration insists the enrichment deal is still Iran’s for the taking. “A few years ago [the West] said we had to completely stop all our nuclear activities,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month. “Now look where we are today.”

We see once again that Obama’s worldview, which is premised on the notion that our enemies are insufficiently respected and understood, has proved dangerously faulty. We have given the Iranians nearly a year to proceed with their program as well as, and more important, the impression that we do not have the will to challenge their nuclear ambitions. They do not feel the need to play along with negotiations or even offer to enter spurious, unverifiable agreements. It was, it seems, not lack of respect or an insufficient dose of American humility that was the root of the problem. It was the nature of a regime determined to become a nuclear power that can press for regional hegemony.

Each step we took — shrinking from confrontation, defunding democracy protesters, bad-mouthing the military option — only emboldened the Iranians and will make any future threats and sanctions less credible. Obama’s Iranian-engagement policy will rank as one of his team’s worst foreign-policy blunders, in an administration replete with errors, misjudgment, and gaffes. America and its allies are less safe as a result and will rightly hold the president responsible for having done much to encourage the mullahs.